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Feb 07, 2003
Interview

How to Be Interviewed by Forbes Magazine Writers

SUMMARY: More than 900,000 business execs subscribe to Forbes magazine. We interviewed Editor Paul Maidment to find out how you can impress his staff of writers and reporters so they will consider doing a story on you. Find out what he said.
Paul Maidment
Editor, Forbes.com
Executive Editor, Forbes
28 West 23rd Street, 11th floor
New York, NY 10017
(212) 366-8900
(212) 366-8804 Ė FAX
pmaidment@forbes.com
http://www.forbes.com


-> Circulation:

Forbes magazine, has a paid circ of 921,410, typically top management positions.

-> Maidmentís background:

After getting both an BA and MA from Oxford, Maidment began his financial journalism career at BBC radio.

"When I started out I was a working stiff like everybody else," he says. Later Maidment moved to Hong Kong to work in radio and television, wrote for the English edition of the Wall Street Journal, and then for The Economist, before becoming the Founding Editor of for FT.com as well as Assistant Editor of the newspaper.

When Maidment came to Forbes in 2001 he assumed a similar role as Executive Editor of Forbes magazine and Editor of Forbes.com. "I also wear both hats here and a large part of what I do is focused on developing the interoperability across all the mediums from the website, and magazines to TV."

"The great thing about working on the Web is it unites the charms of all the media," Maidment adds. "It brings everything together. Itís a visual medium like television, it has depth like magazines, but is also has its own dimensions like the fact that itís truly interactive."

-> Current editorial coverage:

"Forbes is all about the creation, sustainment, measurement, and enjoyment of wealth," says Maidment. "So what we do across all our mediums is try to make the reader smarter or richer. Smarter so you can run your company better or invest better, and richer because youíve done the first two."

"The site is basically the magazine with interactivity," notes Maidment. "But, like all companies weíre trying to get the most out of all our editorial staff. So we have traditional magazine writers writing for the Web and Web writers writing for the magazine and the two benefiting from each other."

Editorial departments include business, technology, (financial) markets, work and lifestyle.

"What we try to do across the board is tell stories with morals," says Maidment. "People can take inspiration and encouragement about how they can run their own careers or business, or learn how to invest better. Or, they can learn how to avoid the pitfalls that others have made. Everything has to relay some practical message, either a good example or a hard knocks case of what not to do."

-> What Maidment looks for in a story pitch:

"We like analytical research and the implications it has on policy. We want pieces to be timely but not as if weíre reacting to that daysí news."

"Anyone trying to pitch needs to go through a writer or reporter who will pick up the idea and sell it to their editors," says Maidment.

"There is no formal beat structure though people have areas of known expertise," says Maidment. "Look at the website and magazine to get a sense of what people write about. Find them on the masthead and then email the appropriate person."

The website masthead is at:
http://www.forbes.com
/fdc/masthead.shtml

-> Submitting pre-written contributions:

Forbes' two op-ed columns are your best bet. The magazine version is called 'On My Mind' and the web counterpart is 'In My Opinion,' which runs as frequently as there is material.

First, email a synopsis. Send it to editor Larry Reibstein for 'On My Mind.' Submissions for 'In My Opinion' can be sent to Maidment or to Executive Editor of News, Michael Noer.

"In both cases weíre looking for pithy, opinionated points of view from people with expertise in their field," says Maidment. "In general, those subjects have to deal with topics that will make our audience smarter or richer. Itís also crucial that is that itís not written about elsewhere. Fresh insight is key."

-> Deadlines:

"Because websites are live beings there are no formal deadlines," says Maidment. "A lot of what we do is copy flow management. When a writer gets a good story the editor decides when it will run."

"The magazine typically closes several days before it reaches the hands of readers. Yet, because we want fresh material, the deadlines are more fluid."

-> Becoming a regular columnist:

"Those are very few and far between," Maidment regrets. "Most columnists have been with the magazine for some time."

If you think you have what it takes contact editor William Baldwin for the magazine and Maidment for the website.

-> What Maidment looks for in an online pressroom:

"We donít use them much because weíre not as news focused as a newsweekly," explains Maidment. "While weíre interested in timely pieces itís the quality and originality of the ideas that appeal to us more."

-> What Maidment looks for in print press materials:

Same as above.

->Where you can meet Maidment:

If youíre in New York try to set up a lunch with Maidment or one of the editors. He and his staff are frequently at large industry conferences, but not the smaller ones.

"Weíre not beat reporting in a way that newspapers or weeklies do. So the reporters and writers are at events that interest them and thatís constantly changing."

-> Maidmentís favorite professional publication:

"I read far too much everyday," Maidment says. "I look at all our competitor publications in print and online. Iíve probably looked at a half a dozen newspapers by our first online meeting at 7 A.M. each day."

NOTE: Interested in planting marketing stories in Forbes? Check out this editor profile for more details:

How to Pitch a Story to Forbes' Marketing Editor:
http://library.marketingsherpa.com/barrier.cfm?CID=1977

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